18 Years of Lies – Afghanistan War

Posted by Jack

If there was ever a reason for you to be cynical of anything coming out of government this is it.

Senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign — and hid evidence that it was unwinnable, according to a damning report by the Washington Post.

The paper, which obtained a cache of government documents under the Freedom of Information Act after a three-year legal battle, reported that the American officials made repeatedly lied about the longest armed conflict in US history.

The trove includes over 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war during the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, including generals, diplomats, aid workers and Afghan officials, according to the Washington Post.

The paper referred to its reporting as The Afghanistan Papers — a reference to The Pentagon Papers, the top-secret Defense Department study of American military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967, which was published by the New York Times and the Washington Post in 1971.

In the case of Afghanistan, hundreds of insiders offered blunt criticism of how the US became mired in almost two decades of warfare, offering a mix of pent-up grievances, frustrations and confessions, as well as second-guessing and backbiting.

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who was the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015.

“What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking,” Lute added, according to the report.

Enlarge ImageLt. Gen. Douglas Lute
Lt. Gen. Douglas LuteAP

“If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction … 2,400 lives lost,” he said as he blamed the deaths of American troops on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department.

“Who will say this was in vain?” he added.

Since 2001, more than 775,000 American service members have deployed to Afghanistan. Of those, 2,300 were killed and 20,589 were wounded in action, according to the Defense Department.

US officials acknowledged in the interviews that their military strategies were fatally flawed and that Washington wasted huge amounts of money trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern nation.

They also shed light on the US government’s failed attempts to curtail runaway corruption, build a functional Afghan army and police force, and control Afghanistan’s lucrative opium trade.

Thought the costs incurred in the war in Afghanistan are staggering, the US government has not carried out a comprehensive accounting of how much it has spent, the report said.

The Defense Department, State Department and US Agency for International Development have spent or allocated between $934 billion and $978 billion, according to an inflation-adjusted estimate from Neta Crawford, co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University.

“What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?” Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told interviewers.

“After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan,” he added.

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5 Responses to 18 Years of Lies – Afghanistan War

  1. Pie Guevara says:

    Spot on Jack!

    IMHO, President Trump’s first impulse to get the heck out of Afghanistan was the correct one. The swamp elite convinced him otherwise. This includes Lindsey Graham, a person for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration except in the area of foreign entanglements.

  2. Chris says:

    Good article, Jack.

  3. Joe says:

    And it will go on for at least another 18 years.

    There’s just too much money and power to be had.

    The only winners in this war are the Swamp Creatures.

    But what else can you expect from a corrupt government.

  4. Post Scripts says:

    I have been a long standing critic of the Afghanistan war because of mission creep. We achieved victory early on and then we tried to spread freedom and create democracy among these people. But, this was completely foreign to their understanding, thanks to the backwards nature of the Islamic religion they embrace.

    History has shown us time and again, that when an ideology/religion is genuinely embraced among any people, any attempt to snuff it out will be met with failure.

    The end of their dysfunctional beliefs can only come from within. We don’t have the time, money or will to do it. Nobody does – it’s a fools errand. Apparently we’ve learned absolutely nothing since the crusades or at least ex-President Bush hasn’t. He launched this madness and he owns it for all time.

  5. Tina says:

    Looking back with regret is understandable especially given the high cost paid by our military heroes. And yes, our leaders (And their family members) will have to live with the decisions they made both in life and throughout history.

    It’s difficult for me to ignore the context in which some of those decisions were made or the efforts given by allies in the region who citizens fought along side of us, often taking tremendous risks to assist us. They welcomed our efforts, they long for freedom and peace with an end to the terrorist elements in their midst. When their problem became our problem we followed previous playbooks.

    President Trump offered the world a different, better, more modern, approach. He proposed the idea that Islamic leaders had to take the leading role in fighting what has become a worldwide scourge, Islamic terrorism. He proposed that leaders of the region must also address the poor economic and educational conditions of their countries. He offered the simple notion that leaders must lead to make their countries prosperous and civil…what a concept! His leadership shows the way and has changed the way we approach defeating terrorists and other enemies of freedom.

    Look at the bigger picture, it’s a much more promising view.

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